Faces of Randall
Hi all; we took a break for a month there to deal with more urgent issues, but Faces of Randall is back! This one contains dolphins!
Name: Laura Wiegand McBrayer
Title: Associate Director, Library Information Technology and Digital Strategies
What that means: Laura manages the area of the library that provides behind the scenes technology support for student computing, the Digital Makerspace, our online resources, digitization, and library systems. She also recently took on a new role in library administration in the areas of budget and HR responsibilities.
Favorite book: Though she read it 30 years ago and is concerned it’s probably out of fashion, the book that’s most stuck with her is The Stand by Stephen King. She doesn’t know why she likes it so much, but it has informed her love of “apocalyptic-type things.” (This interview was conducted several months ago and originally planned for March, so we’re very aware of the eerie coincidence of this title!) Currently, she’s reading a book called Where the Forest Meets the Stars; it’s about a woman who’s working on her PhD and had breast cancer, both things that are meaningful to her.
Favorite place in the library: She actually likes to walk right down the middle of the library through the atrium and take in all of the sights and sounds of students accomplishing all sorts of different things while they’re here. She finds it to be very energizing and inspiring to walk through the middle of it all and marvel at what a great place this is.
If you could instantly learn any one (real) skill, what would it be and why?:
To learn to repair her own car. She never feels confident that she’s paying for anything real at the mechanic. She likes to fix things and technology, so she doesn’t see why she couldn’t fix her car if she just knew something about cars.
Laura has been working at Randall since June of 2008—that’ll be 12 years this June! At the time she was the Information Technology Librarian. She did a little bit of everything in the department she now manages. Before that she was at the University of Minnesota, where she ran a little library on the Life Sciences campus that doesn’t even exist anymore.
Back before her library career, she describes herself as having been “very much a hippie” when she was in college, and was briefly going to be a yoga teacher after taking a yoga class for fun. Though she doesn’t do anything remotely close to yoga anymore, it appealed to the side of her that leans towards peace and harmony.
Instead of yoga, she now seeks out that harmony by taking their small fishing boat 40 miles out into the middle of nowhere on a regular basis and “attempting” to fish. “It’s the most amazing place on earth to not see another human being or land, and there’s just nature all around you,” she says. “That’s probably something people don’t know that I crave on a regular basis—just getting in a boat and driving away.”
BONUS: Laura shared a photo from their boat, as well as a great video of dolphins that swam alongside them: https://www.flickr.com/gp/187945447@N05/tr41r1